What Motivates Us

Some of my colleagues linked to these RSA videos recently via yammer.

The first video, "Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us", rang true with me.  In the presentation they talked about how independent studies (Carnegie Mellon and MIT)  have shown that, after a point, monetary reward does not make people more productive in jobs that require cognitive skill.  In fact, higher monetary rewards produced worse performance.  It seems the best motivator is to pay people enough so the issue of money is "off the table."  This lets people think about the work.  Once money is out of the way there are three factors that lead to better performance: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Amen!  Watch the video:

The second video, "Smile or Die," talks about realistic thinking and how a serious lack of it has been doing a lot of damage.  This video is just good for everyone to watch and maybe reflect on their attitudes.  Hopelessly optimistic is just as bad pessimistic.  Somewhere in between is something that approximates the truth and from that a measured response.